View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Monday, March 5, 2007

Terminations by Texting in Triplicate

Ahmed al-Haddah, the Grand Mufti in the U.A.E., has issued a fatwa that permits the divorce of a Muslim couple by mobile phone text messages. He noted that Islamic clerics are not unanimous in their support for this decision and approach.

The determination is not designed to accelerate the divorce rate but to proclaim that pronouncements by SMS have the same weight as those that are typed and signed.

Since this decree has been issued some critics have expressed their surprise and stated that making a marital termination by mobile is completely inappropriate. Others have pointed to this decision as a positive sign of Islam responding to modernity and the latest technology.

It will be interesting to discover how much demand there is for matrimonial messaging and whether this proclamation sets off a cacophony of ring tones.

But, why ever would one choose to end a relationship by the pressing of keys on one’s cell phone?

Perhaps for the same reasons that we use SMS for other purposes:
It is fast.
It is cheap.
It does not involve the heated, unproductive exchanges face-to-face or in the lawyer’s office.

It is a sure sign of how far a relationship has deteriorated that communication about something so important can be reduced to a press of a few buttons while we are sitting in our car at the traffic lights.

Geoff Pound

Image: ‘I just called to say…’